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Underprivileged children are devoid of virtual classes during the pandemic

Underprivileged children are devoid of virtual classes during the pandemic

-Prachi Agarwal

Online learning for young children is a challenge but when the child belongs to a low-income group family or one that lives in an area with poor connectivity this becomes a real obstacle. And this has been the reality of millions of children since schools across India closed in March 2020.

But this closure brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has made the education of children difficult and experts claim it is likely to increase the learning gap between children from high-income and low-income families even more. Those who have access to technology and the internet are able to learn through online education while others who are not able to, are bearing the brunt as their families cannot even afford a smartphone or basic internet access.

The COVID-19 crisis has forced education systems worldwide to find alternatives to face-to-face instruction. As a result, online teaching and learning have been used by teachers and students on an unprecedented scale. It is of utmost importance for governments to identify which policies can maximize the effectiveness of online learning. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a big blow to education for underprivileged children. But NGOs such as the Final Edge Association have joined hands with childcare institutes (CCIs) to ensure they can minimize this education gap. 

Underprivileged students from rural areas and small towns are facing the biggest hit as schools have turned to online education to fill the gap but most of these children lack digital access to continue their studies.

Even with the government trying its best to bridge the gap by introducing classes on TV and arranging for class assignments sent via SMS or phone calls, the fact that it isn’t enough cannot be ignored.

Millions of children from poor families are still struggling to be updated in their studies at par with their urban counterparts even without access to smartphones, the internet, laptops, or desktops.

Meanwhile, NGOs have come forward to help with the education crisis in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Final Edge Association, a non-profit organization, has been strategically carrying out educational activities for children with existing resources. 

NGOs teachers, trainers, and instructors are conducting sessions remotely for older children through Whastapp groups or video calls. These coaching teachers cover the whole school syllabus. There is also a practice of older children guiding the younger ones.

Steps to minimize the gap:

  • 1. Introducing zero-rating educational websites. Access to these websites should be free-to-all.
  • 4. Promoting free WiFi hotspots especially in non-urban areas.
  • 5. Launching email addresses and phone numbers to address student doubts.

NGOs are working with full potential to bring on significant change and be the beacon of hope for the children in this pandemic of darkness.

 

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